The rifle I was trying to get was a Spanish CETME rifle imported and sold by Century Arms International (CAI). Its a .308 battle rifle developed by a German engineer based on some work he did during WW2. If it looks familiar its because the design was eventually adopted by West Germany as the G3 rifle and saw service until the turn of the century over there. Thousands upon thousands of GI's serving in Germany have seen this rifle.
The design is very simple and robust, where we often these days compare the merits and disadvantages of the Direct Impingement (DI) gas system versus the short or long stroke gas piston system...this design uses neither... Instead it relies on a delayed, direct blowback operation utilizing a roller-block system that retards the rearward travel of the bolt and bolt carrier until chamber pressures are at safe levels (cool vid of the action below, not mine). Another neat engineering feature is that the chamber itself is fluted to allow gasses to help push the expended case of the fired round out of the chamber, increasing reliability. Neat stuff. Like the AK it has no bolt hold open after the last round and the charging handle is on the front handguard, not very ergonomic by todays standards but this design is 50 years old and still works.
It shoots the .308 NATO round. The .308 is a 7.62x51mm round...an honest to God .30 rifle round. The .223/5.56 round the AR uses is effective in its intended role, but for sheer power and range the .308 eats it for breakfast and craps out .22lr rounds afterwards. I already have a .30 rifle, the M1, but this would be a nice addition.
A guy on gunlistings.org was selling one and was open to trading me for my EOTech sight but the deal fell through when he got an offer he couldn't refuse. Good for him, bad for me. After the initial add I went into research mode and am now fixated on this design. The rifles are apparently being imported by CAI and made 922 compliant in their shops. It seems the QC is hit or miss but generally what defects I am reading people bitch about can be corrected. The quality of the builds seems to go up the newer the rifle. Right now I have the EOTech up for sale for $475 (or $450 if anybody wants it and references this blog when contacting me!, + shipping). I have found them under $500 on the web and am still looking locally for a trade.